MADISON, Erase. (AP) — Tim Michels is attacking in the waning days of the primary election for the tight GOP governor of Wisconsin, with an ad this week blaming his rival for not initially supporting Donald Trump in 2016 — even as it emerged Thursday that Michels did not vote in that primary.
Michels launched the attack ad against Rebecca Kleefisch days after he said posting negative ads is “just bad policy” and politicians who do it “lose”.
The ad accuses Kleefisch of failing to endorse Trump in the 2016 primaries and calls her “the ultimate Madison insider.” Sticky, who is? backed by former Vice President Mike Pence, is a former two-term lieutenant governor. Michels co-owns the state’s largest construction company, Michels Corp.
And while Michels attacked Kleefisch for not supporting Trump in 2016, records show Michels did not vote in that primary.
“I missed the Primary, but I didn’t miss the move,” Michels said in a statement to The Associated Press. Michels said he missed the primaries because of “a sudden, unforeseen major problem with Michels Corporation’s major construction project in New York.”
Michels said Trump was always his first choice and that he never campaigned for or supported anyone else, unlike Kleefisch.
The winner of Tuesday’s primary will advance to Democratic government Tony Evers in what is expected to be one of the hardest-fought elections in the country this year, impacting the 2024 presidential race in this swing state. Evers has blocked attempts by the Republican-controlled legislature to change electoral laws and introduce numerous other conservative policies.
Michels’ ad, distributed Thursday by the Democratic Governors Association, aired earlier this week after… Michels said in a televised city hall dat “I’ve never had a negative ad of my campaign in this race.
“And the reason is that we’ve never had a single company talking bad about the competition,” said Michels, who co-owns energy and pipeline construction company Michels Corp. “And the reason is that it’s just bad policy, and if you get a reputation for doing that in my industry… people immediately disrespect you.”
That wasn’t the first time Michels took a stand against negative advertising. In July, after Kleefisch won the first in a series of attack ads against Michels, he came out strong.
“When politicians are shocked that they are losing, they go negative out of desperation,” Michels said on July 6. “So it’s sad that the former lieutenant governor has decided to go negative by joining politics as usual.”
Michels spokesman Chris Walker defended the attack ad, saying on Thursday it came in response to spots run by Kleefisch and her supporters.
“The tone of the campaign was set by her after weeks and millions spent lying and attacking Tim,” Walker said. “If your opponent does that for weeks, it can’t go unanswered forever.”
Kleefisch’s spokesperson Alec Zimmerman said Michel’s turning negative was a sign that Kleefisch “has all the momentum”.
The attack ad comes amid a rush toward the election, with Pence campaigning for Kleefisch on Wednesday, calling her a “proven conservative.” Kleefisch served as lieutenant governor under the then government. Scott Walker and has garnered approvals from Walker, legislative leaders, dozens of Republican lawmakers, and others.
Michels is the outsider’s candidate, and Trump has scheduled a rally Friday in Waukesha County, just 3 miles from where Pence appeared before Kleefisch, as part of a final push.
Michels notes in his ad that Kleefisch did not support Trump in 2016. She and Walker supported Cruz who won the Wisconsin primary that year. Cruz has endorsed Kleefisch this year. After Trump became the nominee, Kleefisch supported him in 2016 and 2020.
Michels’ stance on Trump also shifted this week. On Monday, at City Hall, he declined to commit to support Trump if he ran for president in 2024. But less than 24 hours later, Michels turned.